scared catThe Chicago Cubs’ front office is fantastic at message management. In a given week/month/offseason/whatever, you will hear multiple members of the front office offering the same bullet points, and there are rarely significant departures from what is clearly a well-crafted thesis at any given moment.

In the limited time we’ve had to observe them, the front office has borne out their messages in their actions. Whether it was seeking to build a foundation for sustained success (prospect acquisitions, minor league spending, facilities spending, etc.), or modernizing the baseball operations department (expansive hiring, new analytics software, new saber-inclined minds, etc.), or being unable to turn an ocean-liner on a dime (slow rebuild, no inexplicable large signings, etc.) – when there’s a cohesive message emanating from 1060 West Addison, it tends to play out.

So you can imagine my discomfort when the message started to sound a whole lot like 2014 and 2015 will be a repeat of 2012 and 2013.

In the last two weeks, we’ve heard President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein say something on the order of “the business plan and the baseball plan are still a couple years from coming to fruition.” This isn’t new information, of course, as we’ve known since earlier this year that the Cubs’ revenue wasn’t where it needed to be in order support aggressive additional spending at the big league level (something about not being able to leverage the large market advantage). We also know that the WGN TV deal (however it is renegotiated or sold off) will not kick in until 2015, and the Wrigley Field renovation will not begin until after 2014 (hopefully). We also know that the meatiest portions of the prospect steak will likely not break through – assuming they do – until 2015/2016 at the earliest.

That’s a couple years from fruition. We can easily see that, and Epstein isn’t saying anything draconian or terrifying.

But part of the reason we’re not scared to hear these kinds of messages is because there’s a presumption that, even if the best version of the team is a couple years away, there will be improvement at the Major League level, starting with this season, and taking root in 2015. There’s payroll room opened up this year, but, outside of Masahiro Tanaka, there aren’t a lot of compelling pieces on which to spend it. So, no problem. The next year – 2015 – will be the focus, and 2014 will be a step along the way. Heck, what’s “a couple years,” right? A couple years from 2013 is 2015. So we’re good.

However …

There are increasing signals that 2015, in addition to 2014, could be another slog. I fear that we’re seeing another message taking shape.

Ken Davidoff recently interviewed Epstein about a variety of things – mostly the New York/Boston rivalry – and Epstein offered a somber note about the GM Meetings last week: “[I]t takes time [to build], and a lot of that work is very enjoyable, but it’s also under the radar, which gives us space and freedom and creativity. But it makes for a different experience. Unfortunately, you can’t provide your fans with what they deserve along the way, which is teams that play meaningful games all year long and play until October. So we just have to take a patient, long view. It’s a different experience. But I’ve always enjoyed the scouting and player development aspects of the game, the investing in young players, more than any other aspect of it. So to that extent, it’s been really fulfilling. But it’s different. It’s different. It’s strange walking around the meetings and being a little irrelevant, because we’re not major players in some of these deals.”

Irrelevance is not a word I’d like to hear associated with the Cubs for much longer.

Adding to Epstein’s comments, Dave Kaplan had Jed Hoyer on his radio show late last week, and Kaplan asked if Hoyer saw a “major type move” coming this offseason. Hoyer’s response, in part: “We’re probably going to continue the way we have been, really trying to build up our base …. Where we are as an organization, we have a really bright future, and I think we’re a lot closer to winning a World Series than we were two years ago, but we don’t want to short-circuit that process ….”

So far, while the front office is clearly not going to say that spending big is in the cards this offseason, Epstein’s and Hoyer’s comments are equally consistent with not spending big this Winter, but maybe spending next year. That, in my view, would be an acceptable approach, particularly in light of the current free agent class and the 2014 strength of the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds. Still, the tone doesn’t feel very optimistic in the near-term.

And then Patrick Mooney reported this: “Where the Cubs had internally viewed 2015 as a breakthrough year last winter, now they are focusing more on 2016 in the big picture.”

Oof. Gut punch. Light bulb going off, and revealing only more darkness.

When the new front office took over, and we discussed a realistic timeline for a rebuild, I said that I expected 2012 to be terrible, 2013 to be not much better, and 2014 to be the first season that the Cubs fielded a team, on paper, that looked like a .500 team in Spring Training. That’s a team, as the Orioles have shown, for one example, that has a chance at making the playoffs based on some luck.

From there, it was fair to expect that the 2015 Cubs would be a playoff contender. That was the timeline. It wasn’t terribly aggressive, particularly in a large market that has never attempted a full-scale rebuild.

I’ve accepted that the 2014 Cubs will probably enter the season looking like a non-competitive squad. There are a number of explanations, from the unexpected regression of key big league pieces, to the overheated and undermanned free agent market, to the delays in revenue expansion, to the (ironic) impressive development of the Cubs’ top impact prospects (meaning that it makes more sense to wait). Next season is probably going to resemble the previous two, and, while I wouldn’t have liked it if you’d told me that’s what 2014 was going to be two years ago, I understand the reasoning behind it, and I ultimately support it.

But if there is talk of already sitting out 2015 – if that’s truly the message we are to be receiving – I will be very disappointed.

Disappointed in whom? The front office? Not entirely, if the resources aren’t there. If that’s the case, they’ve got no choice but to build up the farm and hope it pays off. Disappointed in ownership? Maybe a little, but those revenue disruptions came from outside the organization.

So it’s just … disappointing. Things would play out like this for the Cubs, wouldn’t they? A pile of disappointment and no one to blame.

By all means, stick with The Plan. Seriously: please stick with The Plan. Building up a young core, changing things at the organizational level as necessary, and then supplementing with free agents when the timing makes sense – that all still works for me.

But, to the extent there are elements of The Plan – whether front office-driven or ownership-driven – that already presume punting on 2015 (short of a miracle prospect wave breakthrough), I fear that’s a mistake. Fans will come back when the Cubs are winning. We all believe and accept that. But the longer the period of losing, the deeper the revenue losses (and resentment, meaning the slower those fans will climb back on board).

Hopefully I’m just hearing a message that isn’t yet being issued, and there are still eyes on a competitive team in 2015. Hell, hopefully 2014 winds up being a pleasant surprise.

If it takes until 2016 for the Cubs to field a competitive team, I’m not really sure what the landscape is going to look like at that point. It’s the final year of Theo Epstein’s contract. I don’t think anyone expected that Epstein would serve the full length of his five-year deal without the Cubs playing some winning baseball until the very end.

The good news? Baseball is very hard to predict year to year, and the Cubs have a crapload of young talent at this point. The long-term future still looks exceptionally bright. And, in the near-term? Nothing wrong with crossing your fingers, I guess.

  • JJ

    From what I have been told , Theo has a 10 year contract ( 5 and 5). For obvious reasons, they could not announce it that way .

    • Cyranojoe

      I’d believe it, but without a source, I wouldn’t believe it. Any chance you could share?

  • The Dude Abides

    This is the course Rickett$ has chosen. Hopefully Theo was in the loop and is on board. God forbid if he leaves and Rickett$ is left to make a hire.

    Hopefully someday we don’t wake up after Theo is gone and we are still being fed “The Plan” and we realize Jeff Loria has an evil twin in Chicago.

  • MichaelD

    I think that 2016-2017 was always the plan, and that the lack of funding resources just happens to make a timely excuse. Any prospects drafted in 2012 or 2013 were not going to be reaching 25 until 2016. Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo will be 26 in 2016. When they said that the core of the team was going to be prospects and young players, we really should not have expected the team to be competitive until 2016. If things had broken right, 2015 might have been a possibility and if they broke somewhat badly, 2017. I am not even convinced if 2016 might be optimistic.

    • Kyle

      “That’s an unrealistic panacea because not all prospects work out,” Epstein said. “You can’t over-leverage your organization on the hopes of two or three prospects. That doesn’t work out. You have to look at every day, every player, every draft, every waiver wire, every game-on-the-line situation in the ninth inning as a way to get better as an organization and win some games.”

    • Funn Dave

      Uh, no. 2014. 2014 was the plan. Theo had a goddamn three-year plan. Now Theo’s saying it may take a little longer, and while that’s not happy news by any means, it is understandable. It is not understandable to act as though waiting longer than three years was the plan all along. Building a team by relying only on your early draft picks would be absolutely insane.

      • terenceman

        Where has Epstein ever said he had a 3 year plan? Where has Ricketts ever said there was a 3 year plan?

        Every time Ricketts opens his mouth, the year 2015 comes out. No owner in baseball is going to tell you they are going to tank next season but, if you pay attention, you should be able to glean contextual clues about what they’re thinking and 2015 has been a very clear year for some time now.

        If you are planning on building an organization largely around draft picks and IFA signings, those guys need at least 3 years just to get to the majors and that’s barring any injuries. Suddenly, everything is bad and Epstein is a horrible failure because they’re first draft pick with the team isn’t Bryce Harper.

        • Funn Dave

          Yes, NOW he says 2015. When they started, they were saying 2014. Hell, now it sounds like 2016. I was not criticizing Theo; merely making it clear that there’s no way 2017 was th plan all along.

          • Brains

            to genuinely have a “good” team, assuming everything works out with the minor leaguers? one that will compete on a yearly basis? 2017 at earliest, probably 2018 when the 22-year olds fill out a little more. there’s no other plausible scenario if we keep going as current. but like i said before, this can change if the approach of the FO changes (more like the ownership permissions than the FO).

          • Cyranojoe

            They never pinpointed a year. Never. Wish they had, but they were smarter than that. And there’s no way they ever said we’d be seriously competitive by 2014. (They being Jed & Theo.) Prove me (& Brett, etc) wrong if you can!

        • Kyle

          Ricketts says lots of things. Back before he hired Epstein, he used to say that he didn’t believe in rebuilding or something like that.

      • MichaelD

        They always said that prospects would be a core element of the “plan”, supplemented by free agents. They probably had some idea that things might work out better so they never would have said 2016 or 2017, but from what they were saying this is what I expected.

        • terenceman

          I do think the sunny estimate they may have had in their minds was playoff baseball in 2015 in a renovated Wrigley. There seem to be some roadblocks to that expectation at this point and they’re not all on the baseball side.

  • EQ76

    this is depressing.. it’s hard enough to win when you do have a competitive team.. look at the Braves, 1 championship in their streak of 15 years straight in the playoffs. Even if we are finally better in 2016, it still may be a few years after that until we are in the playoffs and Lord knows how long until a WS appearance.??? I understand “the plan” is to be good every year.. I just don’t buy this broke attitude they are portraying.

  • Josh

    If the Cubs are throwing in the towel for 2015 then I don’t think I can continue to spend $500 or so a year on tickets. I hope attendance is bottom 10 in the league if this happens. What a crock. i understand 1-2 years of garbage. The 3rd year you better inch towards that .500 mark with some of these young guys. If we were a small market team like the Padres, this would be understandable, but were not. I was thrilled to have the Ricketts family buy the team and they have been the worst owners imaginable.

    • Cub Style

      Uh, I think the inching toward .500 in 2015 is the plan. Competing for the playoffs may be pure luck/being ahead of schedule though.

    • Trueblue

      I agree with you. Worse management the Cubs have ever had.

  • gocubs

    I think it is great that Theo and Jed have the patience to wait. Waiting will give the team the payroll flexibility to give the young kids 7+ year contracts through their age 31 – 32 seasons. After that let them walk to another team and decline on those teams… see Albert Pujols. You’re much better off paying players cheaply for their learning years and big money for multiple prime years then to pay big money for a couple prime years and big money for their declining years. The declining player contract limiting your future ability to compete.

    In a way this is similar to fantasy baseball. The teams that after the draft say “I’d have an all star team 3 years ago” usually aren’t very good. The teams that after the draft say “I took chances on all stars of the future” are usually pretty competitive. The Cubs are building for all stars of the future. It just takes time.

    • Funn Dave

      Genius! Just like we did with Castro and Rizzo!

  • CM

    Not every good FA requires a 6-7 year deal so if it takes the rebuild from 2012 until 2016 to start panning out with young players, what in the hell would have been so wrong with signing some available guys and at least trying to be competitive? Here’s another question that needs to be answered: What the hell happens if Baez, Bryant, Soler and Almora are total flops?? I realize there’s more talent in the pipeline, but the prevailing wisdom is that at least two of these guys are going to be stars and the other two will be very good everyday players. That’s being pretty optimistic.

    • Jono

      If their farm system fails to produce, then they compensate with free agents signings. It’s like plan A and plan B. Plan B yields a shorter window while plan A is more conducive to sustained success. But in general, when a team’s farm system fails to produce, that team will suffer the consequences….yes, even for big market team. Simply being a big market team doesn’t mean the organization is immune to the failures of a farm system that doesn’t produce or the consequences of spending too liberally. A big market team means they have money to open up that window of Plan B.

      • Funn Dave

        I see you’ve decided to completely ignore the plan upon which Theo has spent the last three years elaborating, and formulate two new, baseless, mutually exclusive, and entirely imaginary plans yourself instead.

        • Jono

          hahaha, yeah, you sure nailed it!

      • terenceman

        Just look at the Indians who tried to rely on their farm system but then spent big when they realized these were probably the best players they could build around. I expect the Cubs will augment their strategy if they’re not where they want to be after the Wrigley renovations are complete.

        • Jono


  • Josh

    I’d rather wake up a Marlins fan tomorrow.

    • SH

      How is it possible that the Marlins could have yet another competitive team before we’re losing less than 100 games? In what world is this just!?

      • Josh

        Marlins at least have Fernandez and Stanton to smile over. While their prospects aren’t as top heavy as ours, they still have a lot of young kids with great futures ahead

        • terenceman

          Having an MVP candidate on the field (when healthy) and a CY Young candidate on the mound is a great formula to build off of. It’s part of why the Dodgers could go for broke so quickly.

  • terry

    hey terenceman.
    if you believe that I have some land I will sell you.. lol.. I am just saying in my opinion. with this front office it will continue to be another year after another. I guess it is because they know how us cubs fans have always said wait until next year. so they figure we will live on that for many more years. You can build a competitive team at the major league level while building the farm. I do not buy this we can not buy players to win now, because we want to get higher draft picks. That is so pathetic, You do not have to purposely have to try to throw multiple seasons. you can say what you want but as a 40 year cubs fan, I do not buy it

  • MightyBear

    I think this is a matter of setting expectations low and reaping the benefits when they surprise. I expect the Cubs to be better in 2014 and competitive in 2015. If they aren’t, then the blame is squarely on management AND ownership. To say that no one is to blame is bullshit. Remember, the rebuilding really started with the 2011 draft even before Theo and the boys got here.

    • Kyle

      Right now, if I had to guess, I’d say the 2014 Cubs will be worse on paper than the 2013 Cubs looked heading into April.

      • Jono

        I’d say you’re right about that. 2013 had garza, a fairly deep rotation, soriano and dejesus (a vet who could handle batting lead off).

        • Brains

          i think this is a completely obvious point. as stands this is the worst team the cubs will have fielded in at least 30 years.

          • Jono

            hey, if I realize it, it must be obvious!

            But I don’t agree with Kyle a lot, so I figured to take the opportunity to do so.

          • willis

            As it stands, just wait til they sell off Shark and Castro…possibly Jackson if they can find a sucker.

          • wvcubsfan

            “as stands this is the worst team the cubs will have fielded in at least 30 years.”

            I’m not sure that I’d go that far, even though this team looks to be pretty bad.

            • Josh

              Too soon to tell really.

      • terenceman

        I think the same thing as Kyle, basically. I expect they’ll look like a competitive but very young team by the opening of 2015. If things go really well in 2014, we could see something similar to the 2011 Orioles who had a great final month and a half when a lot of their young talent played well.

      • Professor Snarks

        On paper, you’re right. 2014 looks miserable (imagine how much worse if they trade Shark for prospects). And if we go into 201 with our current roster, you would think that mean we will get another high draft pick (2 or 3?), but here is the problem I’m having with that. We need certain things to happen in 2014 to help us be competitive in 2016/2017.
        We need:
        -Castro to show improvement
        -Rizzo to improve
        -Castillo to continue his growth
        -Baez to come up and show he has it
        -one other prospect to come up and show he has it (Bryant or Alcantara?)
        -Olt to start the season at 3rd base and show he has major league value
        -Lake to improve enough to be a real asset.

        I know that the odds of all these happening is minuscule, but if enough of them happen, it seems we would win more than 70 games. What to root for? Who are the top guys for the 2015 draft?

        • Kyle

          I don’t think we *need* Baez to come up in 2014. He’ll be 21 all season and has half a year of AA under his belt. If he hits his way into the lineup in 2014, great, but if not, I’m not that worried.

          • Professor Snarks

            True, but it wouldn’t hurt. Besides, if Baez, Bryant or any other start prospect doesn’t come up, I’m not sure the Cubs will be watchable in the 2nd half of next year.

            • D-Rock

              You forgot about pitching…something we are very thin in right now (especially if we trade Shark) and in the future…

              • MightyBear

                I don’t think the pitching is that bad. If they re-sign Baker and trade Shark, the rotation would be:


                with Henricks, Villanueva and Grimm as possible replacements for injuries, struggles etc.

          • MightyBear

            If Baez rakes in AAA, he’ll be up in May/June, whenever he’s no longer a super two. No reason to keep him down in Iowa. This is assuming his defense is adequate.

      • MightyBear

        They don’t play the games on paper.

  • Kramden

    Like running in quicksand. It’s the Cubs, why would anyone think anything would go according to a plan or be ahead of any curve?

    Things like that just don’t happen for this franchise. Never have and likely never will.

  • jj

    In 2012, I expected a trajectory from awful (2012) to historically awful (2013, as they would move the contracts) to middling (2014) to playoff team (2015). For that reason, I could accept the decision not to overpay FA that would only have made the 2012/13 teams go .500. But two more awful seasons without an attempt to turn the major league club into a .500 team? That’s hard to stomach. On the other hand – I’ll hope that if (a) Castillo improves, (b) Rizzo returns to 2012, (c) Castro returns to 2011 form, (d) Schierholtz and Lake hit like 2013, and (e) that Samardzjia, Wood, Jackson, and Arrieta each pitch to ability – the Cubs should show considerable improvement.

  • Justin

    I feel like hitting myself in the head over and over with a hammer after reading this piece. I get the plan, but if they continue to keep players in the minors to just gain team control over them non-stop I am going to be pissed. Hell, couldn’t just about anyone build a decent farm system when you go into multiple years trying to not win to gain top draft picks and only signing flippable players?? Seems pretty simple to me..

  • Blublud

    You guys can believe this crap and be depressed all you want to. I don’t buy it. There is no way this ownership, and definitely no way this FO is going to shit around for much longer not trying to compete. I have always been more optimistic then most, even feeling like last years team was capable of 82-85 wins before the season started and still feeling like the Cubs will spend a decent amount this year.. The Cubs have nearly 40 million dollars to spend to back to last years total. I am pretty sure yhey will spend it. If they don’t, come ST, then we all have reason to be mad.

  • Frank

    Hell, why not mirror the Pirates plan. Take your time to build up the system even if it takes 20 years. Why not? Cubs fans have all the fricken patience in the world. I mean, why would anybody do what the Red Sox did. Build up their system, bring a few up and sigh a few FA’s. Everyone knows that didn’t work for them, so don’t even think of that stupid crap.

    Lets just stay the course for a few few few more years and every thing will be puppies and unicorns. How are they going to pay for anything when attendance drops below 2 million?

    To those that want to jump on this and take your proverbial crap on it, who gives a shit. I’m pissed.

  • Chad

    Another side note: Haven’t heard much on Renteria’s staff coming together, but the Tigers just hired Omar Vizquel. I think he would have been a great hire for the cubs, but that is just me.

    • YourResidentJag

      Yeah, I really wanted him to coach here. Darn!

  • Funn Dave

    New thread, yo.

  • cubsin

    I look at the 2015 Cubs and see a lineup of Rizzo, Castro, Baez, Olt, Castillo, Bryant and two marginal OF’s with Soler and Almora waiting to be called up. I see a rotation of Wood, Samardzijah, Jackson, Pierce Johnson and Arrieta. I see a bullpen with Strop, C.J. Edwards, Vizcaino, Russell, Parker and others. That feels like a .500-ish team that could be even better to me.

    • Kyle

      So as long as all of our top prospects work out, no one gets hurt and no one takes a step backwards in their development, we are “.500-ish and could be better” in two years?

      That’s … not good.

      • terenceman

        Yeah, I think it’s a little too optimistic to think of Almora and Soler just “waiting” to be called up. They will probably only start in High-A. You don’t want to rush them lest they stunt their development similar to Castro.

  • Kevin F.

    Theo was wrong about the manager he hired in ’12, and he’s discovered he’s wrong about how long it’ll take to become a contender. My feeling is they get over .500 in ’15, which will generate more interest. Bottom line for fans is, are you going to hang on for the ride, even if it’s going to be longer?

    • Professor Snarks

      Theo never said how long this would take. NEVER. Sportswriters guessed, bloggers (and their followers) guessed. Fans guessed. Theo never guessed, well I should say, Theo never told us what he guessed. I have seen nothing to indicate any panic. Panic is the first sign that your plan needs to be adjusted.

  • CubFan Paul

    I’m glad you wrote this. Now your drones are informed. Thanks.

    • Professor Snarks

      Amazingly true statement. (and a bit creepy, if you ask me).

  • North Side Irish

    Great article to read after making my Season Ticket deposit today….all kinds of warm fuzzies.

  • guy

    Man, if they’re really punting (or expecting to punt) 2015 I’m not going to be very happy. I get that not everything lined up for the Cubs business-wise the way they wanted (Wrigley renovations, etc.) but let’s not pretend that this isn’t one of the most valuable teams in baseball. Let’s not pretend that they don’t rake in money. Let’s not pretend that they don’t play in the third largest market. Let’s not pretend that every team isn’t making gobs more money from the national TV deals.

    There’s no excuse for not bringing this team nearer to relevance in 2015. I think every fan was happy to wait out 2012-14, understanding that a rebuild was needed. But even if the rebuild isn’t going exactly as planned, or the extra revenue the Cubs were hoping for (above and beyond the already massive revenue the team earns) didn’t arrive right on schedule, there’s no reason this team can’t pay for some free agents to start improving the team. No reason our next crop of young players (Big Three, Edwards, Alcantera, etc.) have to break in on a .430 team with no experience playing in meaningful games. No reason fans have to wait until all the ducks are lined up JUST SO in order to bother to give us a competitive, entertaining product. The Royals had to trade a top-10 prospect in order to get Shields and become watchable. The Cubs can just buy some guys with the giant swimming pools full of gold the Ricketts surely have somewhere.

    • Funn Dave

      “I think every fan was happy to wait out 2012-14, understanding that a rebuild was needed.”

      Least cognizant statement of the day?

    • Kyle

      Speaking as a fan who warned from the beginning that punting begets more punting and making your team worse is not a great way to make your team better in the long run, no, not all of us were fine with 2012-2014 being bad.

      • Edwin

        Maybe they should try a fake punt.

        • SH

          …maybe that’s what this is. No one would expect us to win on Tanaka after this post.

          • Kyle

            Sometimes I wonder if that’s what this is. And hope. And pray. Maybe, just maybe…

          • Cheryl


      • Brett

        The majority of knowledgeable fans understood and accepted that a crappy 2012 (and probably 2013) were going to be the byproduct of rebuilding in the most effective long-term manner.

        • Kyle

          And I think what you’re seeing now, with timelines pushed back and attendance down and media deals being renegotiated less favorably than we hoped, that this wasn’t the most effective long-term manner. It never was.

          • Brett

            If we’re truly talking “long-term” – and I am – I need another five+ years to decide. In terms of that timeline, it’s way, way, way too soon to say.

            • Kyle

              I look forward to more long-form “Kyle was right” love letters like this one in the future :)

              • CubFan Paul

                Hansman will be writing those to me.

              • YourResidentJag


              • Rebuilding

                Ahhhhh…so I wasn’t a lunatic after all when I said a year ago that 2016 was the first year we would be “competitive”. And Kyle, don’t pat your back too hard, about 6 months you argues with me repeatedly that 2015 was the year

                • Kyle

                  Things have gone badly since then. It’s not a good thing.

            • MightyBear

              “In the long term, we’re all dead.” – John Maynard Keynes

              • Spriggs

                He was wrong about almost everything else though.

                • Edwin

                  Paul Krugman would disagree.

                  • Spriggs

                    Caution or I will sic Ron Paul on him again!

                    • Edwin

                      Is that a thing?

                • Sandberg

                  LOL @ Paul Krugman

          • Mick

            I view it more as a calculated risk that the Cubs brand could survive a few awful years in order to secure multiple top-5 draft picks. Historically, top-5 picks are more successful than even middle first-round picks which, would’ve been where the Cubs were drafting had they tried to fill their roster w/FA’s while staying within their budget. Plus, the major TV contract negotiations won’t take place until 2020 when the Cubs will have a newly renovated stadium and waves upon waves of top prospect talent making it’s onto the MLB roster.

            • Funn Dave

              “Historically, top-5 picks are more successful than even middle first-round picks”

              ya think?

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Trust me, we’ll probably be seeing posts asserting that success in MLB is random with respect to where guys are drafted and that trying to predict which amateur players are going to succeed at the MLB level is like trying to predict which first-graders are going to be Ivy League material.

              • Mick

                Exactly. My point though was, over the last few seasons, the available roster, free agents and budget to spend wouldn’t have equated to a playoff contending team to where it would have justified the spending. The end result would’ve been mid-round draft choices which, as you agreed, would have been the wrong course of action. The same could be said for this offseason. Cano is going to demand $30 mil/year, Tanaka will command $25 mil/year (with posting fee), etc. It’s a futile exercise to try and construct a playoff contending team using this current roster and available free agents while staying within a budget. So, yes, we’re going to suck this season and probably next while we wait for the time when we can go out and spend within our means and be able to construct a playoff team on paper.

                • wvcubsfan

                  If you were going to build through FA then you wouldn’t be tied to the current roster. I’m not sure I buy that argument. Besides that who on the current team that doesn’t produce makes too much money to be put on the bench?

                  • Mick

                    No, I’m pretty sure we’d need to pay the players under contract.

          • Edwin

            Certainly the risk was always present that a long term rebuild would take more time than expected, but I don’t know if that definatively means that the plan by the front office was the worst possible. The Cubs could have made more plays for FA, and still might not be in a better position. There’s a chance they could be in an even worse position. Because Plan X was/is being tried and didn’t work doesn’t mean that Plan Y was better.

  • Curt

    And when 2015 then 2016 rolls around and were still discussing why it’ll be another 2 or3 more years wonder wht the exuses will be then myb bad free agent class or minors are just a few more years away well see , it’d b nice to see some progress at thd big league level even if it’s just a little bit.

  • Doug

    Oh No!! We’re gonna suck again!! Who’d a thunk it?

  • Brains

    i just realized that Brett’s whole goal here is to successfully shut me up by anticipating my future comments. well done, pragmatic realism will always put me back into a passive observer mode.

  • John Stevens

    They better start thinking about the fans. At the end of the 2012 season, I was talking to a guy who had 6 tickets in the 3rd row behind the Cubs dugout and he said he wasn’t renewing. He’s had the tickets over 20+ years since I’ve known him. I asked him if he’d regret giving up the tickets when the Cubs make the World Series. He Replied, “I spend close to $50,000 a year for the 6 seats. Even if the Cubs made the World Series in 2014, I’d have $100,000 to scalp tickets.” Since the Cubs have already given up on the World Series until 2016, I guess he’ll have at least $200,000 to spend.

  • jh03

    I think we’re at 200 already. Impressive.

  • Atl Cubbie

    i can see a line-up like this next year:
    1) Starlin Castro SS
    2) Kelly Johnson 2B
    3) Anthony Rizzo 1B
    4) Kris Bryant 3B
    5) Ryan Sweeney LF
    6) Wellington Castillo C
    7) Nate Schierhotlz RF
    8) Franklin Gutierrez CF

  • BlameHendry

    I’m out.

    • SH

      I appreciate all these posters keeping us in the loop.

  • Eternal Pessimist

    Season tickets??? uh…no!!!!